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History of Tabernacle Church of God in Christ

On August 13, 1938 Sister Leola Lynch moved to Kalamazoo from Arkansas.  Her spiritual background was the Church of God in Christ, which she found none in Kalamazoo.  Through prayer, she tried to gather people together to form a church.  God started to move through her faith and prayer life in Him.  People gathered and people were healed.


Sister Lynch lived on Harrison Street in Kalamazoo. Prayer meetings were held in Sister Lynch’s home, on Ransom Street, where Sister Lynch’s sister and brother-in-law, Emma and John Johnson was the first to be saved and filled with Holy Ghost.  Sister Lynch began to hold prayer meetings on Scutters Court. In 1941 Sister Erie B. Walker, Sister Juanita Dunigan, and Sister Alice Liggens were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. Sister Lynch continued to hold prayer meetings at Scutters Court until a home could be secured at 914 Pitcher Street, which was later used for the church. The “Mother Church” started out on Pitcher Street with six members.


The first man God sent to preach at 914 Pitcher Street was Elder John Richardson. Elder Richardson commuted back and forth from Kalamazoo to Battle Creek. He was with the church for three months. During this time, Saints from Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek fellowshipped at the Pitcher Street Church.


Elder J.Q. Owens was the next Pastor. He purchased the property at 914 Pitcher Street and incorporated it to the church, which was officially called Pitcher Street Church Of God In Christ. Elder Owens felt a call from the Lord to go to Lansing, and Elder Douglas became the Pastor. Elder Anderson, who was presiding over the Dioceses, acknowledged Sister Lynch as founder and Mother of the first Church Of God In Christ church in Kalamazoo.  Mother Lynch left Pitcher Street COGIC and went to worship with her sister and brother-in-law in Allegan.


Elder Douglas felt a different call on his life and left.  Elder Thompson became the next Pastor. Elder Thompson left and started his own church and Elder J.Q. Owens returned as Pastor of the Pitcher Street COGIC.  Money was raised to purchase new property at 1601 North Burdick Street. There were ten members. Two years later, the property at 1601 North Burdick Street was sold to the Industrial State Bank and the church purchased property at 1401 North Burdick. The name of the Church was changed to Clay Street COGIC. Elder Owens returned to Lansing and Elder Smiles was the next Pastor. He stayed for two years. Elder Moore became the new Pastor. Elder Moore served for eight years and returned to Detroit.


Bishop Hill became the new Pastor and served from 1961 until 1984.  Under Bishop Hill’s leadership the church was named Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.  Bishop Hill lived in Detroit and commuted to Kalamazoo. He was a dynamic speaker ad a meek and humble man. He was faithful to God and to his members.  The Voices of Tabernacle was established under the leadership of Bishop Hill and the auspices of Amos Walker. The Voices of Tabernacle were well known throughout the community and the church grew membership during this time.


Elder C. G. Charles is the blessed Pastor of Tabernacle Church Of God in Christ. He is a man of faith, integrity, character and focus. He is a spiritual leader, and a true man of God. These qualities have allowed him to be a much respected man of God.


In 1984, he was appointed Pastor of Tabernacle by Bishop P. A. Brooks, Jurisdictional Prelate of Northeast Michigan (in 2005, he was appointed Superintendent of Grace District). Shortly following his appointment, he began seeking ways to move the church forward into the 21st century. In order for the church to move forward, Elder Charles knew that there were things needed to be done. Some of those things were making the church: 1) VISIBLE 2) INVOLVED AND 3) FOCUSED.


The first endeavor was to move the “church building” to a larger edifice. He did this by orchestrating a move from the streets of Burdick and Clay to the hills of Virginia Avenue. He also began a television ministry (and now a radio ministry). These things gave the church VISABILITY.


The second was to involve and revive the church in a substantial number of ministries throughout the city.  These ministries included: The Correctional Facility, Juvenile Home, Nursing Home, Campus Ministry, Christian Outreach, the hanger Programs and the HOPE academy (Helping Our People Excel). These ministries helped the church to be INVOLVED.


Thirdly, he set a goal for the church within itself to become centered.  He did this by placing special emphasis on studying “The Word of God.”  He put special attention on “HEARING” what the Word of God is saying and not merely listening, thus he established a Tape (now CD) Ministry. He revived Bible Study and concentrated the church on giving, thus being a blessing to themselves. These things gave the church FOCUS.


Pastor Charles has involved himself on many committees to allow the community to know God as well as Tabernacle. Pastor Charles strongly believes that “if you give to your community, then your community will give back to you”


We acknowledge and applaud his contributions to our spiritual growth and look forward to continuing the Lord’s work!

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